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The Ancient City of Bagan Turns Into an Emerging Destination

News Bagan, one of the most impressive tourist destinations in Myanmar, is slowly turning into a popular destination. The city was not well-known to travelers even several years ago despite rich historical heritage of the place. However, the improving airports of the country have a positive impact on the tourist industry of Bagan. The second largest city of Myanmar, Mandalay, has its own airport, and many travelers decide to make a memorable trip from Mandalay to Bagan.

These days, Bagan, which was formerly known as Pagan, attracts travelers from developed countries. The top five source markets for the city are the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, Japan, and France. Last year, the city was visited by 282,387 travelers, showing the growth of 12% in last 5 years. In addition to international arrivals, hotels in Bagan experience higher levels of booking from both domestic travelers and visitors from Asia. These two traveler groups are also very important for the industry as they create demand all year round, even during the low season.

Quite an interesting fact – despite rich historic heritage, Bagan hotels are mostly local and privately owned as the presence of famous international chains is weak. There are only 88 hotels in Bagan with less than 3,000 rooms that fit international standards. Extra 804 hotels are set to open within next 2 years, and all of them are small domestic chains. Given that the destination is drawing more attention, the city is a good investment for large chains.

The ancient capital of the Pagan Kingdom is also a large archaeological site, and excavations don’t stop in the city. Bagan has been included in the tentative list by UNESCO and is likely to become a World Heritage Site in future. In order to make that happen, the local government has added a series of protective measures in order to keep the historic look of the city. For example, the Archeological Zone is now a protected area, and so no new developments are allowed in it. That means that building new hotels in the center of Bagan is currently prohibited. However, there are still comfortable outer areas close to the Archeological Zone, such as Nyaung U and New Bagan, that keep developing.

Modern travelers, especially millennials, are particularly interested in authentic destinations that are yet undiscovered by mainstream tourists. It’s up to the government of Myanmar whether they turn Bagan into a mass market travel destination as that happened with Hoi An, Siem Reap, and Luang Prabang. Anyway, the hotel market of Bagan will keep developing as the growth in the number of travelers is obvious.


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